June 7, 2006

Dixie Chicks lead US charts for second week

By Katie Hasty

NEW YORK (Billboard) - In a slow week for new album
releases, the Dixie Chicks remained queens of the U.S. pop
charts Wednesday, while the soundtrack to Disney's "High School
Musical" held tight at No. 2, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers'
former chart-topper rebounded two places to No. 3.

The Dixie Chicks' "Taking the Long Way," which exceeded
industry estimates by selling 525,000 copies during its first
week, added 271,000 copies in the week ended June 4, according
to Nielsen SoundScan. The country trio's Columbia Records set
dipped a respectable 48%. Out of the 13 albums that have opened
at No. 1 this year, only four fell less than 50% in their
second week.

Disney's "High School Musical" sold 103,000 copies in its
21st week on the chart. The Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Stadium
Arcadium," which spent its first two weeks at No. 1, sold
87,000 copies in its fourth frame.

Country trio Rascal Flatts' "Me and My Gang" was also up
two places, to No. 4, with 79,000 units sold. The "American
Idol Season 5: Encores" compilation, featuring songs from each
of the 12 finalists, fell two to No. 5 with 68,000 copies.

The 21st "NOW! That's What I Call Music" installment
re-entered the top tier, moving up five places to No. 6 with
55,000 copies. Tool's "10,000 Days" dropped two places to No. 9
with 55,000, less than a couple hundred behind "NOW! 21."

Carrie Underwood's "Some Hearts" rose two to No. 8 with
54,000, while James Blunt's "Back to Bedlam" re-entered the top
10 soaring 16 places to No. 9. The album sold 51,000 copies,
possibly attributable to the English singer's May 29 appearance
on NBC's "Today" show.

With help from the popularity of her "Hips Don't Lie"
single featuring Wyclef Jean, Colombian singer Shakira's "Oral
Fixation Vol. 2" scooted up three places to No. 10 spot, with
51,000, a few hundred short of Blunt's count. It originally
peaked at No. 5 in late 2005 and early 2006.

No new releases bowed in the top 100 slots of the Billboard
200. The closest contenders include Mike Patton's new project,
Peeping Tom, entering with its self-titled debut (No. 103,
10,000) and Les Claypool's third solo studio album, "Of Whales
and Woe," with 8,000 at No. 115 (his best chart position yet).

At 9.3 million units, overall CD sales were down 7% from
the previous week and down 10% compared to the same week a year
ago. Sales for 2006 are down 3% compared to 2005 at 231.7
million units.